Russian Present Tense
Russian Verbs

Russian Verbs - Present Tense

You will be pleased to know that Russian has only one present tense. In Russian there is only one way of saying "I work", "I am working" and ""I do work".

Russian verbs change their endings depending on the subject. This happens a little in English, but not as much. (Example: I work, he works). This happens according to two different patterns known as the first conjunction, and the second conjunction. Both these patterns are quite similar, and once you get the hang of it, it is not too difficult.

Please also refer to lessons 5. It will contain many more samples.

First conjunction

To form the verb for each person you need to drop the last two letters of the infinative (normally "ть"), and add the appropriate ending ("ю", "ешь", "ет", "ем", "ете" or "ют"). For example the verb: работать (to work).

работать - To work. (infinative, dictionary form)

Я работаю - I work

Ты работаешь - You work

Он, Она, Оно работает - He, She, It works.

Мы работаем - We work

Вы работаете - You work.

Они работают - They work.

Second conjunction

Verbs where the infinative ends in "ить" use the second conjunction. There are also other verbs that use this conjunction. The second conjunction uses the endings "ю" (or "у") "ишь" "ит" "им" "ите" "ят" (or "ат"), which replace "ить".

Reminder: Spelling Rule 1: "Never write Ы, Ю, or Я after the letters 'Г, К, Ж, Х, Ч, Ш, Щ' instead use И, У, А".

When using the second conjunction, sometimes the last letter of the stem (infinitive without "ить") for the first person singular (Я) chages. Change this letter acording to the following table:

д becomes ж
з becomes ж
c becomes ш
ct becomes щ
т becomes ч
б, в, м, п, ф add the letter л

Remember, this only applies to the first-person singular (Я).

говорить - To speak. (infinative, dictionary form)

Я говорю - I speak.

Ты говоришь - You speak.

Он, Она, Оно говорит - He, She, It Speaks.

Мы говорим - We speak.

Вы говорите - You speak.

Они говорят - They speak.

Irregular Verbs

There are a number of irregular verbs in Russian. (Verbs that don't exactly follow the above rules). However, often once you know the stem of the verb, you can often predict the endings. Even irregular verbs normally follow a similar pattern to those above.

Some examples:

Ехать - To go (by transport).

Я еду - I go (by transport).

Ты едешь - You go (by transport).

Он, Она, Оно едет - He, She, It goes (by transport).

Мы едем - We go (by transport).

Вы едете - You go (by transport).

Они едут - They go (by transport).

Notice that once you know the stem "Ед" it almost follows the first conjuction, except that "у" replaces "ю".

Жить - To live.

Я живу - I live.

Ты живёшь - You live.

Он, Она, Оно живёт - He, She, It lives.

Мы живём - We live.

Вы живёте - You live.

Они живут - They live.

Notice that "ё" is used instead of "е" when the stress falls on the ending.

Recommended Books For Learning Russian

The New Penguin Russian Course: A Complete Course for Beginners - Probably the best course in a book.

Russian-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary - A visual dictionary with lots of illustrated examples.

A Comprehensive Russian Grammar - A great reference on Russian grammar.

The Big Silver Book of Russian Verbs - A great reference book of conjugated Russian verbs.

Russian Learners' Dictionary: 10,000 Russian Words in Frequency Order - A simple but powerful concept. Expand your vocabulary by learning the most used words first.